Last updated: October 16, 2017 at 9:17 am
A free knitting pattern to create a pocket prayer cloth, perfect for offering tangible and portable prayers
Note: this pattern has been updated with variations AND a video!
A few years ago, Lion Brand posted an article on their blog about “Pocket Prayer Shawls.” Basically this is a more portable form of the traditional prayer shawl.
The idea is the same — create an item of comfort for someone going through a difficult time — but the project was quite different. You can read the entire blog post here.
It didn’t take me long to discover the practical benefits of such an item. For charity knitters, it’s particularly helpful when you want to knit a comfort item quickly for a struggling loved one.
For the person in the midst of a difficult struggle, the benefits of pocket prayer cloths over traditional prayer shawls include:
- more comfort for someone who doesn’t always (or ever) wear shawls
- the ability to tuck a comfort item unobtrusively in one’s pocket
It’s a great idea, and I was so charmed by the photo of pocket prayer cloths shown in the blog post.
Eagerly I clicked the link in the post to see the pattern, only for my heart to sink when I realized these were crocheted, not knitted. (As you may know, I’m not the most accomplished crocheter.)
But then I realized that I could easily do the same thing with knitting. And so, after reading a few articles on how to knit bobbles (never done it before, but it’s really quite easy!), I created my first-ever knitting pattern.
So, with many thanks to Southern Belle Crochet for the inspiration for this pattern, I present to you: the Pocket Prayer Cloth Knitting Pattern!
Pocket Prayer Cloth: The Pattern
This pocket prayer cloth pattern comes in two sizes, small and large. The large size is about the size of a traditional crocheted granny square; the small is about half that size.
I created the small one first, then felt like it was a little *too* small and enlarged it. But then I realized a smaller size could have its uses too; it could be given to a child, for instance.
Small amount of yarn, anywhere from fingering to worsted weight. If you use fingering weight I’d advise you to stick with the large size, as it would likely make the small version of the pocket prayer cloth about the size of a postage stamp!
If you’re knitting it all in one color, you may want to stick with bright colors. You can see in the photo above that the dark purple doesn’t really let the cross design stand out, whereas it’s much clearer in the turquoise.
A pair of needles, preferably metal with pointy tips (better for making bobbles), in size appropriate for yarn weight.
Gauge is utterly unimportant for this pattern.
Whenever you see instructions in parentheses, the first number refers to the small size, and the second to the large size.
Bobble stitch pattern:
Knit forward & backward in the same stitch twice, for a total of 4 stitches.
Turn work; purl 4 stitches.
Turn work; knit 4 stitches.
DO NOT turn work; on your right needle, working from left to right, slip 3 stitches, one at a time, over the first stitch.
Knit the rest of the row.
Follow these instructions every time you see “make bobble” in pattern.
Note: you may want to knit through the back loop of the next stitch you come to after making the bobble, and on the next purl row, you may also want to purl through the back loop of the next stitch after the bobble. This helps to tighten the fabric around the bobble.
CO (15, 21) stitches.
Knit 3 rows.
Row 4: K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3.
Row 5: Knit.
Row 6: K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3.
Row 7: K3, K (4, 7), make bobble, K (4, 7), K3.
Row 8: K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3.
Repeat rows 7 & 8 for large size only.
Row (9, 11): K6, *make bobble, K1*, make bobble, repeat instructions between the ** 3 more times for large size only, K6.
Row (10, 12): K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3.
Repeat rows 7 & 8 twice more for small size; repeat 3 or 4 times more for large size.
Row (13, 17): Knit.
Row (14, 18): K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3.
Row (15, 19): Knit.
Knit 3 rows.
Bind off, then break yarn.
Weave in ends, then block.
Blocking is a necessity for this pattern because it helps the bobbles pop. It also helps smooth out the edges and make a nice, neat cloth. I steam block, which I highly recommend if you’re using acrylic yarn. If you’re using wool or cotton, you can wet block if you prefer.
(I don’t recommend using cotton yarn for this pattern because of the bobbles, but if you have strong hands and determination, I won’t stop you!)
Instead of knitting every stitch and row for the border, try seed stitch instead. I’ve started doing this myself, and it looks even nicer in my opinion.
Seed stitch: (K1, P1), repeat to the end. You’ll end on K1.
For the edge stitches, you’ll begin and end every row with (K1, P1, K1).
Try knitting the bobbles in a different color than the background! To do this most effectively, purl a stitch in the color of your choice in the row before, where you’ll place the bobble. Then when you come to the bobble, you’ll knit with that color yarn, and continue the rest of the cloth in your background yarn. (The photo to the right shows how beautiful this can look!)
Here’s a video I made to demonstrate a trick to making the bobbles a different color.
I hope you enjoy this pocket prayer cloth pattern. And please feel free to share with your knitting group, if you so choose!